Youths prefer news sites from local mainstream press
Malaysian youths still rely on mainstream media as primary source of information but they are taking it with a pinch of salt.
By Gayathry Venkiteswaran
LUMPUR: Young people using the Internet tend to visit the sites of the
mainstream media online, a survey by Merdeka Centre revealed today.
Top of the list of sites visited were the Malay news media such as Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia (56%,
based on the first and second named sites), followed by international
English and Chinese news portals (26%) while local alternative sites
such as Malaysiakini, Merdeka Review and Malaysian Insider got the attention of about 12% of those who surfed the Internet for news.
to the poll, the youths generally sourced their information from the
mainstream media with half of them reading newspapers more than four
days a week while 53% said they watched television news more than four
days a week. Those with internet access spent between 45 minutes and
two hours daily online.
"However, there is a split in the trust
towards the mainstream media as only six percent strongly trust the
reporting on current and political issues, 40% somewhat trusting it,"
said Merdeka Centre program director Ibrahim Sufian. Of the 49% who
distrust the content, five percent expressed strong distrust.
Malaysians are generally well informed as there is a high rate of
internet use and many use it for news. But they are also skeptical over
news offerings by the mainstream and the internet," he said at a press
Nevertheless, internet use among the young people remained high, and showed an increase of 13% from 57% in 2007 to 70% today.
survey is the third in the series of the National Youth Survey
conducted by the centre with the support of The Asia Foundation.
Polling was conducted from 13 November to 9 December 2008 with 2,518
respondents across the country involving young people in the ages of 20
The results from the media consumption among the young people
echoed the sentiments in a survey on media independence carried out in
May 2008 in collaboration with the Centre for Independent Journalism
The 2008 survey
revealed that Malaysians were critically assessing the content of the
local mainstream media, upon which the majority relied heavily as
sources of information.
The youth survey also highlighted
differences in how young people of the many ethnic backgrounds
identified themselves. More people from Sabah, Sarawak and the Chinese
community chose to identify themselves as Malaysians first and the
non-Malays and non-Muslim bumiputeras were also more open to the idea
of a non-Muslim, non-Malay Muslim and woman Prime Minister for Malaysia.